James Henry Whittaker worked in the British confectionery industry at the age of 14 and moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1890. Six years later he started manufacturing chocolate confectionery, selling it directly to customers using horse and van. In 1913, he established a partnership with his two sons, Ronald and James, based in Wellington. The business became a limited liability company in 1937, with third-generation Whittakers still the sole shareholders in the company.
The company supports motor and equestrian sports nationally in New Zealand.
The company's marketing phrases include "A passion for chocolate since 1896" and "Good honest chocolate". In 2011 it was listed as New Zealand's third most trusted brand by Bradley Colman survey. They improved their standing to 1st in the 2012 edition.
In May 2014 celebrity chef Nigella Lawson filmed a commercial for Whittaker's in the 1930s Wellington Railway Station.
Photo by Jason Read-Jones
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